I was a little worried that I wouldn’t enjoy The Iron Queen since I got a bit curmudgeonly about The Iron Daughter and its love story. Luckily for me, Ash the Ice Prince is nicely fleshed out in the third book in Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, which seriously helps me buy into the love story, and Meghan Chase not only grows into her heavily foreshadowed role but also becomes a braver, stronger young woman. Hooray!
Beware spoilers for The Iron King and The Iron Daughter in this review!
When we last saw Meghan and Ash, they had been exiled from Faery for their star-crossed love. The Iron Queen picks up with the couple in the mortal world. Alas, they can’t expect to have a white picket fence and a normal life, though, because the false Iron King is moving on the Seelie and Unseelie courts, and the pair quickly find themselves squarely back in the middle of the problems faced by the courts that shunned them.
The Iron Queen picks up the pace that dropped off in The Iron Daughter. The beginning is a bit slow because Meghan is trying to learn how to control her magic. She’s half-Seelie, which gives her Summer glamour, but her run in with Machina, the former Iron King, has also gifted her with Iron glamour, and unfortunately for her, the two don’t seem to mix very well. When she’s called upon to get rid of the new Iron King, she has to do so with her wits only, since trying to use either type of glamour makes her very ill.
I was definitely pleased by Meghan’s growth as a character. At the beginning of the book, she does spend an alarming amount of time burying her face in Ash’s shirt, but over the course of the story, she learns to fight and defend herself and also comes to terms with her responsibilities. By the end of the book (no spoilers!) it’s obvious that even her ideas on love and relationships have matured (thank goodness), and she faces her new burdens with her head held high, even if her heart is breaking. Now, I admit that I don’t read teen lit all that often, but much of what I’ve read involves a heroine who doesn’t seem to grow much over the course of the series (I’m looking at you, Twilight). She starts off the series as a whiny teenager and ends in pretty much the same place. It was refreshing to see Meghan move beyond that. Even though she’s still young, she realizes what an enormous responsibility is ahead of her, and instead of whining and refusing to deal with it all, she does what’s necessary and moves on. I know that’s incredibly vague, but I don’t want to spoil the ending of the book for you, so bear with me.
The Iron Queen is exciting and nicely romantic with a heroine who is smart and who grows up in a believable way.